Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Kildee Talks $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill and How It Could Affect Michigan Cities

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Rep. Dan Kildee says his $5 billion plan to invest in American cities would benefit Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and other former industrial boom towns left behind by the global economy.

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Congress is back in session after its August recess, still debating President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan. As part of that plan, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) has a $5 billion provision that would help American cities negatively affected by trade policies and issues. He says it could help transform cities including many in Michigan such as Detroit, Warren, Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw.

We know that ultimately, in general, we need to be engaged in the global economy. That’s just reality … But we also have to be honest and say when we do that, some communities do better than others.” —Rep. Dan Kildee, MI-05

Listen: Rep. Kildee on the state of Congress and plans to reinvest in America’s industrial strongholds.


Rep. Dan Kildee is a Democrat who represents Michigan’s Fifth Congressional District and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which is playing a major role in the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package.

Kildee’s $5 billion provision cleared the Ways and Means Committee this week. 

The idea here is to empower these communities to develop a 21st Century plan,” he says. “It’s a very flexible set of plans … These are communities that are often left behind.” Kildee says he aims to counteract the structural problems in cities like Saginaw and Bay City that prevent them from participating in larger trade. “We know that ultimately, in general, we need to be engaged in the global economy. That’s just reality,” he says. “But we also have to be honest and say when we do that, some communities do better than others.” 

On the $3.5 trillion bill that’s still moving through Congress, Kildee says he supports rolling back the Trump-era tax cuts proposed to pay for the bill. “The politics of this stuff can’t be the driver for bad policy … If we’re going to make these big investments, we need to pay for them.”

Kildee says he’s frustrated with colleague Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who pulled his support for the spending bill and continues to uphold the filibuster. “I think it’s dangerous to hide behind a relic of Jim Crow, the filibuster, to not take up voting rights … so that basically white southern Democrats can hold their power,” says Kildee. ”That’s just not defensible.”

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


Nora Rhein, Detroit Today Intern

Nora Rhein works with the production team on “Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson” on 101.9 WDET. She’s very proud to be a public radio nerd.

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